Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bukavu - Finally a Postcard from Democratic Republic of Congo

After having lived in Democratic Republic of Congo for almost 7 months, finally I am so glad to have found my first postcard from Democratic Republic of Congo …… Yahoooooo!!!!
The postcard shows multi-views of Bukavu City with a photo of fishermen in Lake Kivu in the center. By the way, this entire area covering DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania is known as the Greater Lakes Region. Lake Kivu is one of the smallest lakes in the region with a surface area of about 28,000 km2 (almost the size of Belgium, complete country = 30,278 km2).

I am in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the last 7 months and tried hard to find some postcards. I am in Bukavu, a city in the eastern province South Kivu and about 1500 miles away from the capital city, Kinshasa. Even the large shops do not have any postcards of the country. I am working on a project to collect UNESCO site postcards but I am yet to find a single post card of any of the 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in DR Congo.

Luckily or unluckily, I found these two postcards while roaming in the city at a small stationery shop but the shopkeeper was not willing to depart from them for a small amount. He asked $10 for each postcard, however after a bit (a lot) of bargain I managed to get each postcard for $5 only. I definitely wanted to buy more for swapping but could only purchase one copy of each postcard.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is undoubtedly one of the hardest countries in Postcrossing World to get a postcard from. After being torn by years of violence, a history filled with genocides, mass murders, Armed  Groups and extremely corrupt regimes, DRC remains at the bottom in the list of countries in almost every aspect. DR Congo is blessed with gigantic mineral reserves including gold, copper, uranium, cobalt, coltan, oil, gas and virtually every element present on the periodic table. However this blessing from God Almighty has become a curse for the country and its people. Armed Groups are always fighting with each other for the control of the mines filled with gold, copper and other precious metals. In order to control the people, they use a number of brutal tactics including mass killings, kidnapping, looting and above all rape. DR Congo is known as the “Rape Capital of the World” as the Armed Groups carry out mass rapes to strike fear among the populace.
In order to control the situation, United Nations had to deploy a mission in the country, commonly known by its acronym, MONUSCO. MONUSCO is the largest United Nations Mission in any country of the World with more than 20,000 observers and military personnel deployed. UN managed to control the crimes to a large extent but the country is still marred with numerous challenges.
You must be wondering why it is so hard to find the postcards of DR Congo. UN terms DR Congo among the least developed Nations of the World and it is among the bottom 10 countries of the World in terms of poverty, stability and almost every social indicator. With a life expectancy of around 48 years, people are not much inclined towards hobbies. Instead they are working hard for their daily food.

Do you Want to Get a Postcard from DR Congo?  Because of the huge price, I may not be able to swap these with Postcrosser friends but I can get them for you, if anyone is willing to pay (Remember, I am not a dealer, just a collector :-) ). Postcards will be sent from another country (Probably Pakistan, my home country) inside an envelope or written and stamped (as per your wish), as DR Congo does not have a functional postal system, anywhere other than Kinshasa. You will only pay for the price of postcard + postage cost, without any commission. If you are interested, please leave me a note below in comments section along with your email address.

The 2nd postcard from Democratic Republic of Congo can be seen here.

1 comment:

Travelling Postcard said...

hi, Im interested, I know someone who send mail from Bukavu on regular basis, pls contact me